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There is countless research that shows your diet affects your wellbeing, but now several studies have popped up which indicate that, in terms of behaviour, you really are what you eat. For example, researchers have noted a striking reduction in anti-social behaviour, violence and aggression in young adult prisoners, when their diet was supplemented with multivitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Another study found that school children with ADHD, who were given essential fatty acids daily for six months, demonstrated significant improvement in ‘restlessness, aggressiveness, completing work, and academic performance.’
Further, when 95 British middle managers where given eight weeks’ worth of dietary supplements to compensate for missing nutrients in their diet, significant improvement in activity, mood, cognitive and behavioral strain, and stress management was recorded. So then, complex social, emotional and psychological wellness problems, such as violence, hyperactivity, poor performance and stress, can have a simple solution; your diet.
Typically, the modern-day diet is low in nutritional value, with an emphasis on calories, carbs and the wrong types of fats, and less attention paid to vitamins, minerals and fibres. Not only can this directly lead to physical health problems, such as cardiovascular problems and inflammatory and chronic diseases, but diet also impacts stress, mood disturbance, irritability, lack of motivation, inappropriate social behaviours, low cognitive performance and poor memory.
So what do you need to do to guard your overall wellbeing against these problems? Firstly, take a look at the foods you include in your diet. You should be eating fish at least once or twice a week and consume 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseeds or chia seeds daily to supply your need for omega-3 fatty acids. You also need a great compact protein source, such as lean animal meats, as a little goes a long way so you won’t need much. On top of that, your diet should contain plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
However, it’s not just what foods you eat, but when. You need to be eating a balanced healthy meal three times a day, with two snacks in-between. This will supply you with the energy and nutrients you need to sustain your health and adjust your mood. Remember to never skip meals – especially breakfast – and make sure you always have a salad bowl along with your lunch and dinner. Finally, take your time, and enjoy!